Saturday, March 07, 2009

Archeology Science Cafe in Tucson

The Center for Desert Archaeology and Casa Vicente held their sixth meeting of Archaeology Café, "a casual, happy hour-style discussion forum dedicated to promoting community engagement with cultural and scientific research" this past Wednesday, where geophysicist Allen West discussed the theory that an enormous space object--probably a fragmented comet--exploded over the northern hemisphere 12,900 years ago.

"Allen is one of 26 scientists from 18 institutions who have teamed up to bring together multiple lines of evidence revealing this cataclysmic event. The scientists propose that the impact produced massive detonations with more force than the world's entire nuclear arsenal. In the aftermath, North America and Western Europe were dusted with nanodiamonds, magnetic spherules, iridium, black carbon, and fullerenes filled with helium-3. Millions of animals perished--which, the team argues, ultimately led to catastrophic extinctions, a decline in human populations, and a major reorganization of the Clovis culture."

The Archeology Cafe meets the first Tuesday of each month at 6:00 p.m.; presentations begin at 6:15 p.m. Seating is open, but limited so they recommend arriving before 6:00 pm. In keeping with the style of Science Cafes in Europe and across the US, the forum opens with a brief, informal presentation on a timely or even controversial topic, followed by a question and answer period and a short break. This group uses a moderator to evoke "spirited but focused" discussion.

The Center for Desert Archaeology videotapes these events and plans to stream them on their website,

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